"The story of the Spirograph is fairly well known. In 1962, a British engineer named Denys Fisher (1918-2002) working on, of all things, a new design for bomb detonators, came up with a simple set of gears that allowed anyone to easily create millions of geometric shapes and create a variety of effects. He eventually formed Denys Fisher Toys and began selling the Spirograph in Great Britain. The next year, Fisher brought his “new use for the wheel” to the famed Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, where it was "discovered" by Kenner Products co-founder Joseph Steiner (1907-2002), who licensed the product from Fisher for distribution in the United States. The Spirograph was marketed as "pattern drawing by revolving stencils -- a new invention for everyone."
The product has sold more than 27 million units to date."